Working the Polls for the First Time
By SUE MARGULEAS
A few weeks ago, my husband asked me if I’d like to work at the Polls with him on Election Day.
Honestly, sitting at the Polls for an entire day was not on my bucket list, but if my husband was willing to give up a day in the office to sit with me, in our community of 25 years, helping other Palisadian citizens cast their vote, surely I could too.
Before the sun rose on Tuesday morning, November 6, we headed to the small gym at the Palisades Recreation Center. Though it was not even 6 a.m., the gym was bustling.
We, the volunteers, started preparing the Polls for the four precincts that would be voting throughout the day. This group of strangers and acquaintances would become friends by the end of the day.
At 7 a.m., the doors opened and let in a long line of people waiting to cast their ballots. The enthusiasm was palpable! There were people dressed in suits voting on their way to work, mothers with uniformed children in tow voting on the way to school, elderly with their caregivers, and of course, the celebrities of the Palisades showed up to do their civic duty.
Undoubtedly, half of the Patriotic Pups showed up on Tuesday with their owners as well, many dressed for the occasion.
It was inspiring to see the first-time voters come in, excited to participate in their first election. The clerks would clap and yell out “first-time voter!” each time these eager youngsters checked in.
The crowd was truly excited to be a part of their voting history; albeit a bit embarrassing for the new voter to be cheered on by a gymnasium full of people with parents snapping photos for their Instagram feed.
Though the entire day was fun, exciting and inspirational, perhaps the moment that struck me most was watching an elderly gentleman slowly make his way to our table.
The man, who had a prolific career in the movie industry, proudly proclaimed that he was 104 years old. As we congratulated him and thanked him for showing up (when a mail-in ballot would have been so much easier for him), he declared that he has never missed voting in an election. He happily shared with us that he voted back in 1932 for the first time, helping to put Franklin D. Roosevelt in office.
One of the clerks yelled out, “We have the oldest voter here! He’s 104 years old!” The crowd erupted in applause for the lovely, patriotic gentleman.
When the polls finally closed at 8 p.m., our Polls group still felt energized. Witnessing our democracy first-hand is quite an exciting process. After counting the ballots and cleaning up, my husband and I left for home at 9:15 p.m.
I haven’t put in a 16-hour day since my days of working double shifts as a nurse.
Would I do it again? Absolutely! I got to spend the day with my husband, among our Palisades community, taking part in a key election and watching how it all works.
Thank you to everyone who showed up to vote or mailed in their ballot! Pacific Palisades was well represented in Election 2018.